By now you should know some things about me. Though I may be discussing a before and after landscape, an annual planting scheme or a garden renovation, what I am really talking about is change. The years change a landscape, a garden evolves, a collection of pots means an annual garden can have all the charm of a new dress with somewhere fine to go. Though the season has changed, I am still gardening. No kidding yes, I believe what people devise to celebrate winter outdoors is gardening. Much of my garden has gone to sleep, and needs me not to disturb it. I have no interest in seed catalogues-yet.
In much the same way that I change the annuals in my pots every year, the winter season is a chance to do something different. I like so many things, and I like even better second chances. Much in my own landscape has been in place for many years; my holiday garden is one place I can easily make changes. This client is of like mind; she favors contemporary expressions, and she is receptive to new things. Several years ago the red wood shaving balls and the twig squares got her attention. She has a beautiful collection of Francesca del Re Italian pots. They are clean lined and beautifully colored. The intensely red woodshaving balls atop those twig stands proved to be the foundation of her holiday display. The same materials, in different configurations, a design discussion.
Though this vintage faux bois planter is her odd element out, it takes to this contemporary holiday treatment just fine. It is such a strong piece visually, its stands alone. I have few clients for whom I design and build terraces in the front yard. She suggested a front entrance terrace would give space and feature her pots and garden furniture; she was right.
Last year, we put the red under wraps. Tall twig stick stacks in cream and green became the organizing element. The sparkling gold money plant picks made for a simple and strong foil for the nests of noble fir covering her pots. Sinamay is a loosely woven plastic fabric shot through with metallic threads. Absolutely weatherproof, this ribbon like material will keep its curvy shape whatever comes out of the sky. Individual sticks from a stack were placed in a decidedly sculptural way in the faux bois planter.
The walk to the front door is kept company by an overscaled concrete planter of our manufacture. The stick stack frames the house numbers on the wall. A walk that does not immediately appear to lead anywhere needs a strong signal-come this way, please. How the weather works on these twig stacks is a hand over which I have no control. They gracefully open and bend with the weather in a way I could not duplicate. Two parts a client, two parts nature, and one part from me-looking good.
There is ample room on the terrace for this pair of Francesca squares. Like all of the other pots, these squares are sparingly lit. It is less than two weeks to the shortest day of our year.
Four Francesca flutes make for a striking holiday garden at the front door. This Italian terra cotta is tough enough to withstand our vile winters; the ability to have terra cotta outside at this time of year is cause for celebration in and of itself. Some contemporary expression is hard on the eyes, and lacking human softening; this can border on cold. This is no time of year to add cold to the cold we already have. I so like how she chose materials so soft in color, and so subtle in contrast-it was up to me to put them together in a contemporary way. The interplay of contemporary and traditional elements is lively.
What we have in store for this year; I’ll take pictures.